The story goes that Carl Jung, the psychiatrist, once reflected that we are all familiar with the words of Jesus, “Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, that you do unto me.” Then Jung asks a probing question: “What if you discovered that the least of the brethren of Jesus, the one who needs your love the most, the one you can help the most by loving, the one to whom your love will be most meaningful—what if you discovered that this least of the brethren of Jesus…is you?”
Have you ever thought of that question or that verse in that way? Have you been in that place?
Maybe you are there now. Perhaps you live with the fear of someone finding out “who you really are“. If you know the feeling, this passage in Mark is for you. If you have never felt this way, then you may be fooling yourself or this passage is just preparation.
Regardless, God included it for our good.
In part 1, the focus was on the stone, the obstacle, the seemingly insurmountable problem. They were worried about the stone, even asking “Who will roll it away?” There is plenty to chew on with this, but for now let’s leave it at, God was already dealing with it.
In part 2, lets feast on two words. Then let’s try to draw out the flavor and finish by savoring the ramifications of God’s great love.1
The ladies have made it to the tomb.
They are shocked to see the stone, the source of their worrying, the obstacle in their path, the embodiment of their hurt had already been dealt with.
Confused and conflicted,they go in only to fins someone’s there. And not the someone they were looking for.
” But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” —Mark16:7
There is still so much to look at, so much to love about this passage, but for now, think with me about the significance of “but Peter”.
Peter, the Rock, but not because he felt like a champion, but rather saw himself at rock bottom.
Peter, found is his failure, his hurt, his unfaithfulness.
Don’t be so quick to relieve Peter. If we are, we will miss the beauty of the gospel in these two words.
Peter is in the depths, because he is not the man he thought he was…
Maybe it’s the other way around. Maybe he had hoped he was more, but this confirms for all that he is just (fill in the blank).
This is the part of the story where we come in. Not the ladies part (that was part one). Not the Angel part (I won’t be writing that one). No… We come in at the Peter part.
Too often we come to church as the “puffed-up Peter“. We talk about our accomplishments, our memory verses, or attendance, our avoiding of certain visible sins, and the clear distinction between our morality and that of others.
Maybe we have fallen and it is known, or worse, we hope no one ever knows. The reality is we have all fallen.
“He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone. It may be that Christians, notwithstanding corporate worship, common prayer, and all their fellowship in service, may still be left to their loneliness. The final breakthrough to fellowship does not occur because, though they have fellowship with one another as believers and as devout people, they do not have fellowship as the undevout, as sinners. The pious fellowship permits no one to be a sinner. So everyone must conceal his sin from himself and from their fellowship. We dare not be sinners. Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous. So we remain alone with our sin, living in lies and hypocrisy. The fact is that we are sinners!“ –Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Let us see the beauty of these two words…
There is a broken man somewhere and the Lord Jesus is thinking of him. Peter is someone where thinking the one who had put his hopes in is dead and probably thinking his future and dreams and ministry were dead as well. Both could not be more wrong.
God does not excuse our sin. He deals with it. He went to the cross to pay the debt we could never pay. He knows our failings, even our faith-less-ness. And he redeems.
God rescues sinners.
I pray you will feel the weight being lifted by the God-sized crane that is the words, “and Peter”.
This crane is only operated by the master builder, the Lord Jesus Christ.
And notice what this builder chose to use for his foundation… The rock, Peter. Not because he was perfect, but to because God is perfect.
This is hope for the fallen, strength for the weak, and praise-inducing to the one who know their sin.
This is ours in Christ, but only in Christ. This freedom, this redemption, is ours as we acknowledge our brokenness before the one who paid for it.
On too many Sunday’s and in too many ways we pretend to believe we are sinners. And because of this, all we can do is pretend to believe we have been forgiven.
If this is true for you, your whole spiritual life is as one pastor put it. ”pseudo-repentance and pseudo-bliss”.
Today, may you hear the words of Jesus through the pages of scripture, as He says, “and Peter“